10 Things You Do Every Day That Can Damage Your Kidneys

The kidneys perform many vital functions in the human body, such as: prevent the buildup of waste in the body, keep electrolyte levels stable, make hormones that regulate blood pressure, make blood cells, and maintain strong bones.

Every normal, healthy human being has one pair bean-shaped of kidneys which are located against the back muscles in the upper abdominal cavity just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine.

To stay healthy, it is essential to keep the kidneys functioning properly. Some common symptoms that can indicate kidney problems are a change in color and quantity of your urine, dizziness, vomiting, anemia, breathing issues, feeling cold most of the time, tiredness or fatigue, itchy skin, bad breath and sudden pain in the body.

We need to do everything we can in order to keep our kidneys healthy. Many things can damage your kidneys -- bad habits you don’t realize you do everyday influence your kidneys the most. Here are some:

Insufficient Water Intake
Our kidneys need to get properly hydrated to perform their functions. If we don’t drink enough, the toxins can start accumulating in the blood, as there isn’t enough fluid to drain them through the kidneys. An easy way to see if you’re drinking enough is to check the color of your urine.

Holding Urine
Retaining urine in your bladder is a bad idea. When urine remains in the bladder for a long time, it can cause the bacteria breeding in urine to multiply. In turn, these harmful bacteria can cause a urinary tract infection or kidney infection. If done on regular basis, it can increase the urine pressure in your kidneys and lead to renal failure or incontinence.

High Salt Consumption
The body does need sodium to work properly, but an excess of sodium can cause damage. The kidneys metabolize 95 percent of the sodium consumed through food. When salt intake is high, the kidneys need to work harder to excrete the excess salt. This in turn can lead to decreased kidney functioning, causing water retention in the body. Water retention can cause a hike in blood pressure and increase the risk of developing kidney disease.

Consuming Too Much Sugary Soda
Drinking two or more soda drinks a day (diet or regular) may be connected with a higher risk of kidney disease. Studies have shown that people who consume two or more sugary drinks a day are more likely to have protein in their urine. Protein in urine is an early sign that the kidneys are not doing their job properly.

Consuming Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine can raise blood pressure and put extra stress on the kidneys, just as salt can. Over time, excess caffeine consumption may lead to kidney damage.

Excessive Intake of Alcohol
Most people enjoy a glass of wine or a beer here and there, but more than one drink several times a week can raise the risk of kidney damage. Alcohol puts stress on the kidneys and the liver. When you drink alcoholic beverages in high amounts, it causes uric acid to be deposited in renal tubules, leading to tubular obstruction. This in turn increases the risk of kidney failure. Moreover, alcohol causes dehydration and disrupts the normal functioning of the kidneys.

Not Getting Enough Sleep
Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to many health problems, including kidney disease. The body works while sleeping to repair kidney tissue that may be damaged, so depriving the body of sleep makes it harder to heal.

High Protein Intake
Protein is good for your health, but excessive consumption of red meat and other protein-based foods can increase the risk of developing kidney disease. Too much protein in your diet can harm the kidneys. The byproduct of protein digestion is ammonia -- a toxin your already-hard-working kidneys need to neutralize. More protein means more effort for the kidneys, which can, over time, lead to decreased function.

Excessive Use of Painkillers
Both over-the-counter and prescription drugs are commonly taken for aches and pains without concern about the harmful side effects that may arise. Excessive use of painkillers can lead to severe kidney and liver damage.

Smoking has been linked to atherosclerosis -- the narrowing and hardening of blood vessels -- which influences the blood supply going to all the major organs, including the kidneys. Just smoking 2 cigarettes a day (I still personally think that’s too many) is enough to double the number of endothelial cells (the cells that line our blood vessel walls) present in your bloodstream. This is a sign of arterial damage. 

photo: davidwolfe.com

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